Grindleford Gallop trail race

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Saturday 17 March, 10:05

-3C, blowing a gale adding -10 windchill and very heavy snow showers. A 21.2 mile race around the Peak District.

Shivering in the car I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’d put a fleece top in the car for afterwards, but put it on to make sure I ran hot rather than froze on the crags. Good call. I had 2 shirts, a long sleeve top from Decathlon and the New Balance fleece, with my Salomon waterproof jacket on top!

It was a mass start of a few hundred runners with a very narrow step-over bridge 400 yards away. Lots of stiles after made it stop / start for the first few miles, and stiles and gates were dotted throughout the course.

I started fairly easy and just planned to get round without sprawling in either mud or a puddle. Succeeded.

About 5 miles in I noticed we were running the route of a Calver race I did last year but in reverse. The part where I was followed by sheep there were no sheep this time, just a blizzard and my left ear feeling like it was being frozen off!

It’s been a relatively wet winter and this showed with plenty of mud. Even crossing Chatsworth estate the ‘grass’ was sodden muddy ground.

At the third drink station in Baslow I asked for a black coffee. Or tried – my face was frozen. But she understood. Had 2 gels, 500ml water, 1.5 flapjacks and half that coffee during the race.

Climbing from Baslow to Curbar Edge was a lot of straight uphill walking. Then on top it was an apocalyptic scene. Dark sky, snow was horizontal, the wind was blowing hard and towards the edge of the crag. Awful and I remember thinking conditions like this could get the organisers in trouble with plenty of runners struggling.

I knew the Curbar stretch well in reverse, have run it plenty of times. I was run / walking due to fatigue. Right heel niggle as usual.

Overall, pleased to beat the conditions and very happy with my watch time. Official results not out at time of writing but I’ll update this post. Brilliant stewards and helpers throughout. Would be nice to run this in normal and dry spring weather.

Distance: 21.2 miles

Time: 4:12:39

Avg pace: 11:55 min/mile

Calories: 2369

Ascent: 2697ft

Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275


training run #1409

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Sunday 21 January, 07:03

2C, cold, cloudy. A 13 mile run. Didn’t manage to run on Friday due to extremely icy conditions scuppering a run commute. Then snow forecast for today caused the postponement of the Wildest Peaks trail race. So I ran early to avoid the snow and stayed local.

Tried to run easy but stats show my heart rate went higher than expected. Was running with head torch and concentrating on icy paths rather than checking HR on Fitbit.

Carried stuff in a waist belt. Are 1 gel, 1 Clif Bar and drank 250ml water. Noticed heel on and off.

Light snow flurries as I exited Rother Valley and again as I returned through the park, but I did dodge the heavy persistent snow later. Enjoyed this run.

Distance: 13.07 miles

Time: 2:00:21

Avg HR: 153bpm

Avg pace: 9:12 min/mile

Calories: 1401

Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10

Wildlife: 2 rabbits

training run #1403

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Sunday 7 January, 08:09

0C, ice and frost, cold northerly wind. A 9 mile run on the first part of the Exterminator route again.

Another great sunrise as I climbed the first hill.

Sunrise over a cold Sheffield/Totley

Made it all the way up that hill except for sheet ice on the first part of the climb and 5 seconds to take the photo. Improving.

Totley Trig

Totley Trig was bathed in orange sunshine.

Right heel was less of a problem than usual today, less noticeable but there. Had 1 Clif Bar, 1 gel and 300ml water.

While the ground was frozen hard in places, elsewhere I broke through and got wet and muddy feet and ankles. Went slower to dodge my way through or around the worst, and avoid sheet ice in places.

As I returned through Horses Field there were 2 in the field, one of them waiting for something at the lowest part where I have to exit to the road. Friendly, gave its face a stroke.

A horse in Horses Field

Distance: 9.08 miles

Time: 2:11:02

Avg pace: 13:41 min/mile

Calories: 1036

Ascent: 1582ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: sheep and 2 horses

training run #1398

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Friday 29 December, 06:56

1C, cold and snowing. Wrapped up for a 4 mile run. An inch of snow/ice slush underfoot slowed me down, made a few corners tricky. Kept my balance and survived without a fall.

Distance: 4.19 miles

Time: 39:45

Avg pace : 9:28 min/mile

Calories: 482

Trainers: Brooks Glycerin

training run #1390

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Saturday 16 December, 07:48

0C, cold and icy. A 9.6 mile run on the parts of the Exterminator course I didn’t do last weekend. Started at Fox House and picked up the route beneath Burbage Edge. Then Higger Tor, Stanage Edge, Hathersage, Mitchell Field, Padley Pump Station, across Longshaw and back to the car.

Wrapped up well. Felt right heel throughout but it didn’t slow me. Lots of ice and a few inches of snow.

Thought I’d got the feel of the snow and part-frozen soil but heading up to Carl Wark I was surprised when I stepped 12 inches deep through the snow into thick mud. Scraped right shin extracting myself.

Got a great view of the sunrise climbing up Higger Tor.

Sunrise viewed from Higger Tor

Getting up onto Stanage Edge I saw a couple sat on an outcrop watching the sunrise. As I got on top I shouted ‘Morning’ and waved, and they waved back. The woman shouted it was her birthday and did I want a cake? I thought why not, and enjoyed a small cupcake, thanked them. A nice memory.

I had a banana before running, 2 gels and a Clif Bar during the run, with 400ml water.

I nearly slipped over on the descent to Hathersage, lots of water running off the fields across the road had frozen.

Crossing and climbing Mitchell Field light snow started, carried on getting more and more.

As I’d expected, the conditions slowed me a lot, and I was walking a fair bit of the climbs.

Approaching the end, the last gate I had to pass through, I took a more direct approach instead of staying in the compacted footprints gently circling to the gate. I learned why when I sank 6 inches into mud without warning. Very cold and muddy feet for the last quarter mile.

A good workout, enjoyed it.

Distance: 9.65 miles

Time: 2:23:21

Avg pace: 14:11 min/mile

Calories: 1066

Ascent: 1468ft

Trainers: inov-8 x-claw 275

training run #1389

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Thursday 14 December, 07:02

2C, raining, cold, dark. A 4 mile run. Dragged myself out of a nice warm bed and got this done. Enjoyed it really, even though it was raining for most of the run, and the paths at Rother Valley were slippery with melting, slushy ice.

Tom Tom broken strap replaced:

Distance: 4.21 miles

Time: 39:07

Avg pace: 9:16 min/mile

Calories: 480

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: 1 rabbit

training run #1388

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Wednesday 13 December, 06:39

4C, dark, cold. A 4 mile run. Travel for work stopped me training Monday and Tuesday, so I’d planned to do 2 full laps of Rother Valley. About 30% of the lap was solid sheet ice, so I bailed out of the second lap. Didn’t fall but slowed a lot and had a few hairy moments. In places I was running and hardly getting anywhere, comical.

Fitbit stats:

Distance: 4.19 miles

Time: 38:42

Avg HR: 148bpm

Avg pace: 9:14 min/mile

Calories: 432

Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10

Wildlife: 6 rabbits